State Roundup, May 24, 2011

HOMELESS STUDENTS: In a significant but under-reported story, Brian Kuebler for WMAR-TV reports about Maryland’s growing population of homeless students and the state’s attempts to bring all of its school districts in line with a federal directive to remove barriers to their education. Read the story and view the video report here. Then click here to see how the homeless student population has changed in your jurisdiction in an interactive map.

STATE SALARIES: The great majority of the 1,346 workers who match or beat Gov. Martin O’Malley’s $150,000 annual salary, including the 15 highest earners, work for the university system, reports Larry Carson on a Baltimore Sun analysis of state employee salaries for 2010.

(In March, did a similar analysis of the 5,139 state employees who make more than $100,000.)

In this nifty, if a bit awkward, Sun interactive created by Patrick Maynard, you can search state government employees’ salaries by name, salary range and agency. You can also get total earnings to see who has made millions working for the state. Mess with it a bit to get the hang of it. Once you’ve chosen your parameters, scroll down for the data.

You can do the same for Baltimore city government employees here.

The Sun’s Matthew Hay Brown blogs that University of Maryland women’s basketball coach Brenda Frese may rank third in the database, with the departure of two other coaches and no announcement of how much their replacements will be paid, for the moment she ranks No. 1 among earners of active employees.

To see who those Top 15 are, click here for a Sun photo gallery.

PETITIONERS CONFIDENT: With a week to go, the group leading the effort to repeal in-state tuition for illegal immigrants say they have enough valid signatures to meet the first benchmark of 18,579 signatures by May 31, Glynis Kazanjian reports for

GOOD NANNY STATE: The editorial board for the Sun writes that with a state task force recommending that crib bumper pad be declared a hazard, the description of Maryland as a “nanny state” could actually apply — and it’s a good thing.

SPACE-BIZ INCUBATOR: Nick Sohr of the Daily Record reports that the state will start an incubator for space-related businesses and take other steps to “unlock the enormous economic and employment potential of Maryland’s space sector,” said Gov. O’Malley.

ENTREPRENEURIAL VISION: Representatives from business and government say that Maryland’s challenge in bolstering its high-tech economy is building its entrepreneurial base, writes Lindsey Robbins for the Gazette.

PENSION, HEALTH CHANGES: State officials were in Hagerstown yesterday to discuss the latest changes to the pension and health benefits systems, Andrew Schotz reports for the Hagerstown Herald Mail.

GOP ACTIVIST DIES: Daniel Vovak, an eccentric Republican activist best known for wearing a Colonial-era wig during his U.S. Senate campaign in 2006, died Saturday morning in Rockville at age 39, Alan Brody reports in the Gazette.

PELOSI, HUFFINGTON IN B’MORE: House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and new media magnate Arianna Huffington will be coming to Baltimore next month for the annual meeting of the the U.S. Conference of Mayors, Matthew Hay Brown blogs in the Sun.

STEELE JOINS MSNBC: Michael Steele, the former lieutenant governor of Maryland and head of the Republican National Committee, will join MSNBC as a regular political commentator, blogs the Sun’s John Fritze.

GAS PRICE DROP: Ryan Sharrow of the Baltimore Business Journal reports that Baltimore-area gas prices eased off in the last week, dropping 11 cents after months of increases. In Maryland, gas prices averaged $3.89 yesterday, higher than the national average of $3.84.

RACE TV VIEWERSHIP DOWN: NBC earned a 6.0 overnight Nielsen rating for the race segment of Saturday’s Preakness Stakes from 6 to 6:45 p.m., marking the lowest overnight rating for the race since 2000, Austin Karp writes for the Baltimore Business Journal.

ONLINE GAMBLING SHUT DOWN: Federal investigators in Baltimore set up a phony business — and handled $33 million in transactions from Internet gamblers — in a lengthy sting operation that led to the indictment of two online betting companies and their international owners, Trisha Bishop reports for the Sun.

DUTCH HELPS FAMILY: The family of a 31-year-old Baltimore man who has been missing in Libya since March enlisted the help of U.S. Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger to raise awareness about his plight, John Fritze blogs for the Sun. There’s also video of Ruppersberger with the family.

MAKE WAY FOR BUSINESS: More industrial and commercial businesses are expected to move to Carroll County following a series of recent changes to the county’s development process by the board of commissioners, Christian Alexandersen reports for the Carroll County Times.

RAISE PROPERTY TAX: The Anne Arundel County Council can no longer avoid heeding the warnings of independent auditor Teresa Sutherland, opines the Annapolis Capital editorial board. It must raise the property tax rate or slice the budget.

About The Author

Cynthia Prairie

Contributing Editor Cynthia Prairie has been a newspaper editor since 1979, when she began working at The Raleigh Times. Since then, she has worked for The Baltimore News American, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Prince George’s Journal and Baltimore County newspapers in the Patuxent Publishing chain, including overseeing The Jeffersonian when it was a two-day a week business publication. Cynthia has won numerous state awards, including the Maryland State Bar Association’s Gavel Award. Besides compiling and editing the daily State Roundup, she runs her own online newspaper, The Chester Telegraph. If you have additional questions or comments contact Cynthia at:

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